You wouldn't normally wake up one morning to notice your teeth are shifting. This is a slow, gradual process. However, if it's ignored, it can have disastrous effects. Today, our orthodontists at Village Orthodontics discuss what can cause teeth to shift and why it's important to catch it early. We'll also offer tips on how you can prevent it.
Is it possible for teeth to shift?
Yes, teeth can shift over time via a normal process known as mesial drift. This incremental movement towards the front and centre of the mouth is not visible on a day-to-day basis.
But factors like periodontal conditions and health issues can exacerbate this movement, leading to complications like crooked teeth and a misaligned jaw. To decrease the risk of teeth shifting, we recommend seeing an orthodontist for a professional assessment.
What can cause teeth to shift?
People in their late teens and young adult years often experience changes in the position of their upper and lower front teeth. This may be caused by wisdom teeth that are erupting at this time . However, some studies have shown that wisdom teeth are not the primary cause of dental crowding.
In fact, up to 25 percent of people missing their wisdom teeth from birth still have crowding issues later in life. This indicates that removing wisdom teeth does not guarantee straight front teeth. It would appear wisdom teeth have been unfairly blamed for dental crowding and are guilty by time association
Thus, it seems other factors can influence teeth position. These can include late lower jaw growth, changes in cheek and lip elasticity, tongue pressure, and loss of gum tissue because of gum disease.
What are the symptoms of shifting teeth?
Some signs your teeth are shifting can include:
- Bleeding gums
- Gaps in your teeth
- Tooth pain or sensitivity
- An uncomfortable or ill-fitting retainer
If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to speak to your orthodontist.
Can I prevent my teeth from shifting?
Yes, you can! Here are some tips for keeping your teeth in their most correct positions possible:
Don't Grind Your Teeth: If you do grind your teeth, consider booking an appointment with your general dentist. They may have some dental appliances that can help.
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing don't just keep your teeth clean. Keeping up with oral hygiene can also prevent issues like gum disease, which can be a major factor in shifting teeth.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups: Going to see your dentist regularly allows them to spot signs of shifting teeth. They can then refer you to an orthodontist or make a treatment plan.